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EMBO J. 2010 Jan 6;29(1):68-79. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.332. Epub 2009 Nov 19.

Regulation of the osteoblast-specific transcription factor Osterix by NO66, a Jumonji family histone demethylase.

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Department of Genetics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Osterix (Osx) is an osteoblast-specific transcription factor required for osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. Osx null mice develop a normal cartilage skeleton but fail to form bone and to express osteoblast-specific marker genes. To better understand the control of transcriptional regulation by Osx, we identified Osx-interacting proteins using proteomics approaches. Here, we report that a Jumonji C (JmjC)-domain containing protein, called NO66, directly interacts with Osx and inhibits Osx-mediated promoter activation. The knockdown of NO66 in preosteoblast cells triggered accelerated osteoblast differentiation and mineralization, and markedly stimulated the expression of Osx target genes. A JmjC-dependent histone demethylase activity was exhibited by NO66, which was specific for both H3K4me and H3K36me in vitro and in vivo, and this activity was needed for the regulation of osteoblast-specific promoters. During BMP-2-induced differentiation of preosteoblasts, decreased NO66 occupancy correlates with increased Osx occupancy at Osx-target promoters. Our results indicate that interactions between NO66 and Osx regulate Osx-target genes in osteoblasts by modulating histone methylation states.

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